Yankees' Kyle Higashioka Placed on 10-Day Injured List, Headlining Several Roster Moves
Ahead of Saturday's doubleheader against the Rays, the Yankees made a slew of sudden roster moves. One of which revealed New York's backup catcher is bound for some time on the injured list.
Kyle Higashioka was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to Thursday with a right oblique strain. The backstop has only played in three of the Bombers' 13 games thus far, most recently going 2-for-3 against the Phillies in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Wednesday.
Yankees' manager Aaron Boone explained that Higashioka's injury isn't traced back to one specific play or moment. He said Higashioka will get an MRI when the Bombers return from their road trip on Monday
"I knew he was having a little bit of an issue with it on Thursday but thought it was something he was going to be able to work through," Boone said. "Then yesterday it was just a little tighter than we were comfortable going with as a hitter. So decided we needed to do this and hopefully try to get ahead of it and keep it something that's a shorter term thing."
In the place of Higashioka, utilityman Thairo Estrada was recalled from the club's Alternate Site. Yankees' manager Aaron Boone revealed on Friday that Estrada, along with four others, had made the trip to Tampa Bay for the weekend series as part of New York's taxi squad.
Estrada made the Yankees' Opening Day roster after an impressive performance at training camp earlier in the summer. He was then optioned, alongside Miguel Andújar, on Thursday.
"Just coverage potentially in both of these games," Boone said when asked why the club elected to call up Estrada rather than Andújar. "If I want to run a replacement in there late in the game, Thairo has a little more flexibility there."
Right-handed prospect Albert Abreu was also among the group that traveled with the team to Tampa. The 24-year-old — and Yankees' No. 12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline — was added to the active roster as New York's 29th man for the doubleheader. Should he be called upon to pitch, it would be his Major League debut.
Finally, the Yankees signed veteran catcher Erik Kratz to a big-league contract, selecting him to the active roster, while designating right-hander Nick Tropeano for assignment.
Kratz, 40, will assume the backup catcher role after New York placed Chris Iannetta on the restricted list after Friday night's game. Iannetta, 37, chose to retire after 16 years in baseball after the Yankees sent him down last week, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
"You never know what's going to happen, you never know what the next thing is going to be," Kratz said. "Once they started ramping things up, you wonder are you going to get a call. I was fortunate to get a call and come back and be able to work out at Summer Camp and the Alernate Site to stay ready."
The backstop was a member of the Yankees back in 2017, going 2-for-2 in his four games played with the club. He's played for a total of nine teams across a decade in the Majors.
Tropeano, a native of Long Island and lifelong Yankees fan, was in line to make his dreams come true after he was signed and added to the active roster in place of Tommy Kahnle (Tommy John surgery) just days ago. Instead, the right-hander has been designated for assignment.
"In Nick's case, it became a numbers thing with needing a roster spot because of Higgy," Boone said. "So we had to create that spot. To be able to be here a couple days and not be able to pitch that's difficult but that's just the nature of the situation right now."
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